By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Calling all academics (II)

I got some great responses last month when I asked for ideas on how to organize my research for a book project I’m working on. For the time being, I’ve decided to use ugly old Excel. It works, I’ve already got it, and if I find something better, I will almost certainly be able to import my Excel database into it.

It’s a shame that Apple let HyperCard die, because, with the right export capabilities, it would be ideal. I did discover that its commercial successor, SuperCard, is still with us — but it doesn’t strike me that it could possibly be worth $180.

I also took a test drive of FileMaker’s newish personal database program, Bento, and was underwhelmed. It didn’t seem to me that it provided much more than an attractive front end for an Excel database. Worse, unlike Excel, Bento doesn’t seem to support hyperlinks to my documents.

A few people suggested that I use FileMaker itself. I may — it’s freely available to faculty members, and I assume I could learn a few low-end skills fairly quickly. So if my Excel data get to be too cumbersome to work with, that would seem to be a reasonable option.

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  1. djcmurphy

    Dan,I’ve been looking at a Firefox add-on called Zotero. It is free and looks promising. I’m hoping others will weigh in on this.

  2. Chris Devers

    Yojimbo is good for this kind of thing: can be used to store all kinds of information, from bits of text (including links & formtting), URL bookmarks or even snapshots of web pages, etc. You could probably work with it in roughly the way you would have on Hypercard, but with a more modern way of presenting (and searching through) the info that it contains.

  3. Pink Granite

    Have you looked at Mac based NoteBook 3.0 from Circus Ponies? site has a lot of information, including videos which should help you see if it would fit your needs.There is a separate forum just for writers: Lee

  4. Lis Riba

    I’ve also found myself longing for hypercard recently.May want to check out and see if that will do anything for you. [I’ve used it for a couple small projects in the past.]

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